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2020 Audi Q3 Sportback Ready To Roll.

Audi’s vast range of vehicles is about to expand. The Q3 Sportback, a small-medium SUV that features a strong coupe styling, is on its way. Pricing is sharp and it will be, to start, a two model range. The Q3 Sportback 35 TFSI S line with a 1.4L turbo four that produces 110kW and 250Nm will kick off at $49,900, whilst the Launch Edition will start from $56,450. These are manufacturers list price and do not include dealer or government charges.

Styling tweaks see the Sportback longer and lower than the standard Q3. Audi quietly nods to its Quattro heritage with the body having larger wheel arch “blisters”. The S Line and Launch Edition will roll on 19 inch alloys. The powerplant itself pairs up with a slick six speed S-Tronic auto, putting drive to the front wjheels in the S Line. It’s not a rocket ship though, with a 0-100 time of 9.3 seconds. Economy is quoted as 7.3 litres per 100km whilst emissions are 167 grams per km. A bigger engine and an extra cog will feature in the Q3 40 S-Line model. 132kW will come from a 2.0L engine, driving all four corners via a seven speed S-Tronic.

The Launch Edition is will include additional features, such as metallic paint as standard, privacy glass, and a black exterior styling package. The folding wing mirrors are heated too. Inside there’s a bespoke sound system, auto dimming rear vision mirror, plus LED colour lighting, heated front pews with powered lumbar support, and a 360 degree camera system. Safety features will include Adaptive Cruise Assist, along with active lane assist and emergency assist.

ANCAP have awarded the Q3 Sportback a five star rating, as Autonomous Emergency Braking or AEB, with cyclist and pedestrian detection is on board, as are lane departure warning, lane change warning, rear cross-traffic assist, tyre pressure monitors, and hill descent control. Six airbags will be fitted with no driver’s kneebag as part of the package. Naturally technology is a major part of the Q3 Sportback, just like its sibling. The Audi “Virtual Cockpit” will star for the driver, as will MMI navigation and MMI touchscreen. DAB audio provides the sounds and Audi’s voice control is tuned to be a natural language style for better usage.

Both USB-A and USB-C ports will feature for front and rear seats, and connectivity in the form of wireless Apple CarPlay, a smartphone charge pad and a handy dual Bluetooth connectivity is standard. Audi Connect Plus provides real time traffic info, petrol station fuel pricing, parking space availability at listed stations, and even weather updates.

Drivers with a sporting bent will be well pleased thanks to a fettling of the steering plus selected driving modes for a variety of driving situations. Audi drive select allows driving characteristics to be altered with a selection of various modes through the MMI controls.

Although it’s of a coupe styling, rear room isn’t compromised. The 530 litres of cargo space is the same as the non-coupe Q3. 40:20:40 split fold and sliding second row seats allow up to 1400L as required.

Paul Sansom, Managing Director of Audi Australia, says: “The very first Q3 Sportback expands Audi’s presence in the premium compact SUV segment. In a single generation, the Audi Q3 established itself as the benchmark in its class, underlined by its enduring popularity throughout its lifetime. The new model is stronger in every conceivable area, and the very first Q3 Sportback offers an even more expressive alternative for buyers. The growing share of the premium compact SUV segment shows no sign of slowing down, and so the Q3 Sportback is absolutely the right car at the right time for the Australian market.”

Deliveries for Australia are expected to start in March of 2020.

Small SUVs You Can Buy in 2020

Judging by sales trends, the commanding popularity of owning and enjoying an SUV will continue into 2020.  So, what can you buy this year if you’re looking to get into a small SUV with AWD?  Let’s take a closer look.

Audi

Audi Q2

Audi has the sparkling little Audi Q2 AWD.  You can get this one in the Q2 TFSI 140 kW Quattro Sport mode with five seats, a 7-speed auto, petrol, 2.0-litre Turbo, 140 kW, 320 Nm, 5-star safety and with 6.4 litres/100 km fuel consumption.

For way more performance the hot little SQ2 TFSI 221 kW Quattro is stunningly quick.  Available with five seats, a 7-speed auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 221 kW, 400 Nm, 5-star safety and around 7.4 litres/100 km fuel consumption.

Audi Q3

Audi also offers the slightly larger Audi Q3 with Quattro underpinnings and good looks.  You will enjoy the new Q3 45 TFSI with five seats, a 7-speed auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 132 kW, 320 Nm, 5-star safety and around 6.7 litres/100 km fuel consumption.

The punchy performance of the Q3 S-Line 45 TFSI will delight.  It comes with five seats, a 7-speed auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 169 kW, 350 Nm, 5-star safety and around 7.6 litres/100 km fuel consumption.

BMW

BMW X1

The smallest BMW SUV with AWD is found in X1 guise.  Known as the BMW x-Drive 20d 4×4 you have something quite special to get yourself around.  The Twin-Turbo diesel is a beauty with plenty of pep, great driving dynamics and low fuel usage.  It comes with five seats, an 8-speed auto, diesel, 2.0-litre, 140 kW, 400 Nm, 5-star safety and around 4.8 litres/100 km fuel consumption.

BMW X2

BMW also offer a small SUV in the form of the X2 AWD.  The X2 has low, sleek lines; however it still has SUV status.  You can get this nice looking, nice driving vehicle with five seats, an 8-speed auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 141 kW, 280 Nm, 5-star safety and around 6.5 litres/100 km fuel consumption.

Honda

Honda HR-V AWD

The smallest Honda SUV comes in the form of the HR-V.  Available with AWD, five seats, auto, petrol, 1.5-litre, 96 kW, 155 Nm, 5-star safety and around 5.3 litres/100 km fuel consumption.  The HR-V won’t break any land speed records but it does deliver comfortable, efficient transport with loads of technology and safety features.

Hyundai

Hyundai KONA AWD

Hyundai offer their small SUV in AWD as well as in FWD.  Both the 1.6T AWD and the 1.6T Elite AWD use the same engine and underpinnings with the difference being price and equipment levels.  With a new Hyundai KONA AWD SUV you will enjoy five seats, a 7-speed DCT transmission, petrol, 1.6-litre, 130 kW, 265 Nm, 5-star safety and around 6.7 litres/100 km fuel consumption.  The KONA’s nice styling, price and drive add up to a nice experience.

Jeep

Jeep Renegade

Yes, you can get yourself a legendary Jeep as a small SUV.  Jeep’s compact SUV has all of Jeep’s 4×4 mastery with its proven technology and ruggedness always a hit.  Known as the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk; with this model you have serious off-road potential that boasts low gearing for tough terrain.  You also get five seats, an auto gearbox, petrol, 2.4-litre, 129 kW, 230 Nm, 5-star safety and a fuel consumption of around 7.5 litres/100 km.

Lexus 

Lexus UX250H

The smallest Lexus SUV with AWD comes in the form of the UX250H; and it’s a hybrid.  Sleek lines, plenty of style, loads of luxury, excellent performance and handy cabin space make the new Lexus UX250H a discerning small SUV choice.  The UX has also been designed by a female engineer who also had a hand in the CT200’s design.  This comes with five seats, an auto transmission, hybrid – petrol/electric power, 2.0-litre combustion, 135 combined kW, 190 Nm, 5-star safety and a fuel consumption around 4.7 litres/100 km.

Mazda 

Mazda CX-3 AWD

A real winner with equally nice looks and a nice drive, it’s hard to walk by a new Mazda CX-3 AWD.  Known as the CX-3 GSX AWD, you get a small SUV that has all the style as well as a comfortable interior, great technology and a fun drive.  The CX-3 AWD comes with five seats, an auto gearbox, petrol, 2.0-litre, 110 kW, 5-star safety and a fuel consumption around 6.7 litres/100 km.

Mercedes Benz

Mercedes Benz GLA AWD

As a compact SUV, the new Mercedes Benz GLA AWD versions though almost car-like do offer some SUV credentials.  It is based on the A-Class platform and is excellent – as you would expect.  It is Mercedes Benz after all!  This offer one of the nicest cabins in this class of car, particularly when you add the huge centre touchscreen and figure-hugging seats.  These are also really nice driving cars with superb performance.  If you don’t mind the higher price, then you’ll love these.

The Mercedes Benz GLA 250 4Matic has five seats, an auto gearbox, petrol, 2.0-litre, 155 kW, 350 Nm, 5-star-safety and a combined fuel consumption of around 7.0 litres/100 km.  The Mercedes Benz GLA AMG 45 4Matic is the most powerful small SUV money can buy.  It’s also the priciest!  With this model you get five seats, an auto gearbox, petrol, 2.0-litre, 280 kW, 475 Nm, 5-star safety and a combined fuel consumption of around 7.5-litres/100 km.  A 0-100 km/h dash can be performed in around five seconds.

Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi ASX AWD

Mitsubishi offers the excellent new ASX XLS AWD.  This small SUV has a very modern style and offers its power from the excellent 2.2 turbo-diesel engine.  This is a standout performer and perfectly matched for the ASX AWD version.  The 2020 ASX cabin is comfortable, stylish and safe.  You get the AWD version with five seats, auto, diesel, 2.2-litre, 112 kW, 366 Nm, 5-star safety and a 6.0 litres/100 km fuel consumption.

Nissan

Nissan Juke AWD

Nissan Juke has its small AWD model with the funkiest styling in this class.  It’s all about cool looks, style and fun with this one.  You can get the AWD Nissan Juke in Juke Turbo form which delivers a great drive, tidy handling and plenty of personality.  The Nissan Juke Turbo has five seats, auto, petrol, 1.6-litre, 140 kW, 240 Nm, 5-star safety and a punchy drive with a fuel consumption of around 7.4 litres/100 km.

Ssangyong

Ssangyong Korando AWD

Very plush and comfortable, the 2020 Ssangyong Korando looks good and is nice and practical.  Offered in AWD as the Korando 2.0 TDi it comes with a good price, five seats, auto, diesel, 2.0-litre, 129 kW, 360 Nm, 5-star safety and around 7.3 litres/100 km fuel consumption.  This is proving a popular buy around the world, and for good reason too; this is a solid, stylish, nice driving and comfortable small AWD SUV.

Subaru

Subaru XV AWD

Based on the Impreza platform, the new Subaru XV 2.0i Sport and Premium models are very handy off-road, while remaining dynamic on-road.  This is a competent, stylish small SUV that can easily scamper off road when required.  Both the Sport and Premium models come with five seats, auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 115 kW, 196 Nm, 5-star safety and around 7.0 litres/100 km fuel economy.

Suzuki 

Suzuki Jimny 4×4

The extremely desirable and popular little Suzuki Jimny has impressed worldwide and is available in Australia with plenty of options for trim, technology and trim levels as well as manual and auto options.  These are a delightful 4×4 SUV to drive with the added benefit of being able to tackle some serious off-road terrain.  Even experienced 4WDers rave about them.  This latest model has delivered and offers plenty for the adventurer.  Manual versions are fractionally more fuel efficient, being able to return around 6.4 litres/100 km compared with auto versions which are around 6.9 litres/100 km.  Both the Suzuki Jimny Sierra and Sierra 2 Tone offer five seats, auto and manual options, petrol, 1.5-litre, 75 kW, 130 Nm and 3-star safety.

Suzuki S-Cross AWD

Suzuki’s S-Cross is really a glorified Hatchback with a higher small SUV riding stance, a peppy little engine, excellent build quality, and all at a handy price.  The AWD version is known as the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross LTD AWD, and it is nice and comfortable to drive.  It’s also nice and practical with genuine seat comfort and space.  You get five seats, auto, petrol, 1.6-litre, 88 kW, 156 Nm, 5-star safety and a 6.3 litres/100 km fuel consumption.

Suzuki Vitara AWD

With its nice styling, safety and comfort, the new Vitara is a very well-priced small SUV with great driving dynamics too boot.  It’s based on the S-Cross platform.  The latest Vitara has been pumped with high-tech safety features and also shows off its bold styling in many bright colour combinations.  You’ll have fun with this one, and the Vitara is well built too.  The Suzuki Vitara JLX AWD is the base model and offers five seats, auto, petrol, 1.6-litre, 86 kW 156 Nm, 5-star safety and 6.3 litres/100 km fuel consumption.  The Suzuki Vitara Turbo AWD and AWD 2 Tone are great fun cars to drive.  With these you get five seats, auto, petrol, 1.4-litre, 103 kW, 220 Nm, 5-star safety and 6.2 litres/100 km.

Toyota 

Finally, to wrap up the available new small SUV drives, the Toyota C-HR is superbly built, nice to look at, comfortable and has hybrid technology.  2020 has the C-HR with smoother lines and a special Toyota Safety Sense suite.  This is a reliable performer, and a small SUV drive that delivers AWD traction which is great for gravel roads as well as city streets.  The Turbo AWD, Limited AWD and Limited AWD 2 tone all offer five seats, auto, petrol, 1.2-litre, 85 kW, 185 Nm, 5-star safety and an average fuel consumption of around 6.5 litres/100 km.

As you can see there is plenty of choice in the abundant selection you’ll find in the small SUV market place.  Today’s modern technology, new materials and reliability make for enjoyable new car ownership.  You can see why plenty of people are ditching their small hatchbacks for a more solid small SUV stance.

2019MY Nissan X-Trail Ti: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: The 2019 model year Ti spec X-Trail from Nissan. At the time of writing there is a six tier range which includes the sports themed N-Sport. The Ti sits at the second highest spot under the TL and wants for little in comparison. The car provided comes in a five seater configuration.

How Much Does It Cost?: Nissan says a drive-away price in January 2020 is $44,490 for the Ti. That’s a bargain as the recommended retail is $45,340 before any on road costs.

Under The Bonnet Is: A 2.5L petrol engine and a Constant Variable Transmission. Peak torque of 226Nm spins in at 4,400rpm, whilst top power of 126kW is there at 6,000rpm. Economy is quoted as 8.3L per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle from a 60.0L tank. We saw a best of 7.3L/100km and a final average of 8.7L/100km. Emissions are 192grams/km. Dry weight is 1,562kg.On The Outside It’s: A clear relation to the rest of the Nissan family, something some other brands should take into consideration. Every single Nissan has a relatable to another Nissan look. This starts with the deep Vee shaped nose/grille design before running to a sine wave crease-line along the side from the front to the’s rear muscular flanks. The rear lights are nicely integrated horizontally and the powered tailgate opens to a 565L cargo section. Drop the second row seats and Nissan says there’s 945L available. The Ti comes with a glass roof and incorporates a separate sunroof in this section.The styling disguises the fact it’s quite long at 4,640mm and sports a wheelbase of 2,705mm. Height is only noticeable if you stand next to it at 1,740mm. Full width is 1,820mm. Good looking 19 inch alloys are shod with 225/55 Ecopia rubber from Bridgestone.On The Inside It’s: Largely a very pleasant office. The immediate downside to the look is the drab and dull touchscreen display. It’s boring to look at, and slow to access DAB stations. the map display looks like a digital version of the now no-longer-available paper map books. That’s the downside. Otherwise there’s superbly supple cloth covered seats, which are heated front AND rear, the aforementioned glass roof, and an ergonomically laid out cabin.The driver has a one touch up/down power window, keyless start, and a very efficient climate control system at their fingertips. There’s a decent centre console bin, and a drive select dial just forward of it. This allows two or four wheel drive (on demand) and a locked 4WD for soft-roading. Auto headlights and wipers add to the convenience factor as do the integrated cop holders in the rear seat which fold down and also provide a form of armrest. There’s hints of luxury thanks to the lush carpet mats fitted and the powered tailgate has a position memory. It’ll also automatically stop if a body is detected..The dash itself is formed into an elegantly styled design, replete with soft touch materials and a stitched leather look. Button and tab placement follow a logical theme on the gently flattened “M” style layout, with a slightly flat bottomed wheel providing a little extra thigh space as well. Dull looking touchscreen design aside, it’s a pretty place to sit in and look at. That’s assisted by a beautiful Bose sound system with enough low end to please most and a nicely balanced sound stage.

On The Road It’s: A harder ride than expected. In no way was it a bad ride, far from it. There was ample absorbance and it was more the quicker return to a flat ride, and a definite feeling of tautness, that surprised early on. The car’s default drive by choice was the torque-split on demand 4WD. In the driver’s display is a graphic that shows the torque being applied front to rear and the drive is well enough set up to have the front doing most of the work without feeling as such.Steering is well balanced with just the right amount of feedback and heft to ensure an engaging drive in this respect. Where the drive fell down was in the CVT’s unwillingness to deal with an engine that has great numbers and exhibits those when using the manual change via the gear selector or paddle shifters.

Anything other than a gentle push on the accelerator resulted in a sensation of feeling mired in mud. Forward motion felt uninspiring, and indifferent, whereas using the manual options gave a definite change in the liveliness of the drive. The brakes made up for it with confidence and solid stopping time after time.What About Safety?: There’s plenty. Intelligent Cruise Control that adapts to the vehicle ahead, Autonomous Emergency Braking, and Blind Spot Warning with a small LED that lights up in the root of the wing mirror to visually advise. Intelligent Trace Control, a form of torque vectoring, is here, and it unobtrusively applies brakes to the wheels sensors feel need an additional boost, and this works cornering to assist in keeping the X-Trail on the road, rather than venturing to where it shouldn’t.

Intelligent Ride Control works with the engine and transmission, gently backing off torque when the car moves over something like a speed-bump or road ripple. This has the flow on effect of minimising pitch that passengers may feel. Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and Intelligent Lane Intervention round out the safety package, with what Nissan calls their Intelligent Mobility service incorporating the Lane Intervention, Cruise Control, and Trace Control.What About Warranty And Service?: Five years worth of warranty and unlimited kilometres are a good thing to have in the back pocket. This covers five years of roadside assist and should the vehicle be onsold inside that term, the warranty rolls over with it. Service is the now familiar capped price and varies depending on which level of service is required. This was the pricing structure as of January 2020.

At The End Of The Drive. The Nissan X-Trail Ti is a very featured and equipped vehicle. It rides and handles well enough, has a very good engine but has two things that need improvement. The visually uninspiring touchscreen needs an overhaul and Nissan has plenty of places to look. The other is the CVT. It’s a real negative in what is otherwise a mechanically very well sorted drive-line. More information of the X-Trail’s extensive range and feature set can be found here.

Genesis GV80 Showcases Luxury And Technology.

Genesis, the luxury aimed sub-branch of Hyundai, has launched its first SUV. Named the GV80, with the V standing for versatility, it features a unique headlight design, a mix of aluminium and steel in construction, plus some world first comfort features.William Lee, the Executive Vice President and Global Head for Genesis, says: “GV80 represents the essence of the innovative spirit of Genesis. As we launch GV80, our first luxury flagship SUV, we simultaneously open a new chapter for Genesis.”

Hot-stamped steel is a main component of the body’s structure, whilst aluminium features in the doors, bonnet, and tail-gate. An immediate standout of the exterior is the “Quad Lamp” headlight design. “The Quad Lamp graphic will become the most recognisable, unique signature of Genesis design, as the simplest of lines communicate a distinct identity,” said Luc Donckerwolke, Chief Design Officer of Hyundai Motor Group. “Two lines will come to define Genesis.”Three design studios based in the U.S., Korea, and Germany collaborated on the design. Signature cues are the “Crest Grille”, flanked by the Quad Lamps, and something Genesis call the “G-Matrix”, a pattern in the light fixtures. There is also the Parabolic Line running along each side and complemented by lines over the wheel arches.
There’s no holding back on interior features for luxury either. Slim-line air vents provide a sense of elegance and a broad 14.5 inch touchscreen with a split-screen ability dominates the centre dash console and another simple luxury touch comes from a minimal use of hard texture switches and buttons. The appeal of soft materials extends to covering the door handles and quilted kneepads on the console sides.An electronically powered shift-by-wire dial style gear selector is housed in the elegantly designed centre console. Handwriting recognition, such as that found on smart devices, allows phone number dialling or navigation setting. There’s also a new augmented reality system that works with the navigation, with driving guidelines set over camera-fed real time driving. A front mounted camera displays an optimal driving line on the infotainment screen.
Sound deadening technology goes up a notch with the GV80 showcasing a world first. Road-Noise Active Noise Control or RANC technology uses digital signal processing and analyses road noise. By generating opposing signals within 0.002 seconds, extraneous noise is cancelled out.Another world-first technology is an active motion driver’s seat that contains seven air cells: a feature that reduces fatigue from long hours of driving. One-touch comfort control, adjustable from the front row, allows for limousine-level relaxation in the second-row seats. Heated and ventilated seats are available in the first two rows.

In addition, the GV80 is equipped with an air purification system that automatically operates according to indoor air quality, through an in-vehicle fine dust sensor. Active air purification with dual filters monitors the in-vehicle air quality in real time, and removes 99% of fine particulate matter, which maintains a clean and fresh cabin environment.

A straight six diesel will move the GV80. Peak torque, says Genesis, is 588Nm, with a peak power output of 204kW from the 3.0L capacity engine. Configured as a five seater and rolling on 19 inch diameter wheels, economy is quoted as 8.5L/100km. The Australian market sees the GV80 available with two petrol engines at launch, expected for mid-2020.
Buyers speccing an AWD model will have Multi-Terrain Control for various types of off-roading on surfaces such as Snow or Mud. Comfort in ride and handling will come from an electronically controlled suspension that will work with the front mounted cameras to adjust on the fly for better road holding.

An Advanced Driver Assistance System, ADAS, will feature some unique tech, such as SCC-ML. This is Smart Cruise Control with Machine Learning, an AI package that adapts to individual driving characteristics. The airbag count goes up to 10, with a centre-mounted airbag between the front occupants to mitigate interior impact.
There’s some extra convenience functionality such as Genesis Pay, which will be unique to the South Korean market. This works by linking a credit card to the car’s telematics and enables cashless payments via the navigation screen. Servicing is assisted by remote diagnosis technology and smartphone connectivity allows remote vehicle checking.
The Genesis website is where to find out more and register interest.

Toyota Yaris GR: Potency Is The Middle Name.

Toyota’s city car, the Yaris, has been a solid performer for the Japanese company for some time. For 2020, Toyota has shrugged off the cardigan and given the petite little thing a heart and soul transplant. Called the Yaris GR (Gazoo Racing), it’s due mid 2020 for Australia. The basis for the Yaris GR comes from Toyota’s extensive rallying history, and there’s been substantial input from Gazoo Racing and Tommi Mäkinen Racing, meaning the GR Yaris is to be the homologation model of its next WRC racer.Power is from a three cylinder engine, complete with single scroll turbo. 192kW and 360Nm are the figures quoted, with capacity a huge (for a three potter) 1.6L. Power goes to all four corners via a six speed manual, making it the first Toyota non SUV/4WD to feature all paws being driven since the Celica GT-40 of twenty years ago. A zero to one hundred time is around 5.5 seconds, and top speed is a very decent 230kph.The engine will feature piston cooling via oil jets and the exhaust valves are larger than normal to provide better breathing. A restyled body not only provides better aero but a lighter structure, meaning a power to weight ratio of 6.7kg/kilowatt from the 1,280kg (dry) weight. That restyling features larger wheel arches to cope with the 18 inch diameter alloys that will be standard. They’ll wrap 356mm vented brake discs. Dimensions are 3,995mm for length, 1,805mm in width, and 1,465mm in height. The wheelbase is a massive, for the overall size, 2,558mm. The front track is slightly narrower than the rear, at 1,530mm v 1,560mm.A 91mm lower roofline helps the Yaris GR slice through the air more effectively, whilst the engine has been moved rearwards for a better weight distribution. Compression moulded carbon-fibre polymer and aluminuim paneling (bonnet, doors, tailgate) for the three door shape are the main contributors to the lower mass. Frameless doors help too, and add a more aggressive look to the profile. Underneath there is a new platform (Toyota’s melded the GA-8 front and GA-C rear) which allows for a wider rear track and new double-wishbone rear suspension system. The development team responsible for the Yaris GR also devised reinforcements beneath the side members to ensure the suspension’s performance potential can be realised.Performance for the drive hasn’t been overlooked. Being an all wheel drive hatch, the driveline needs something to help the front and rear work together. Toyota have a “high response coupling” that joins the two but there’s a twist in the twist. This ingenious system uses slightly different gear ratios for the front and rear axles, which are mounted on double wishbone, not torsion beam, suspension components, which allows for a theoretical range of front/rear torque balance from 100:0 (full front-wheel drive) to 0:100 (full rear-wheel drive). This flexibility gives a performance advantage over AWD on-demand systems that use twin-coupling or permanent AWD systems with a centre differential. The GR FOUR system is also considerably lighter in weight.The driver has full control over the way the drive system works. An AWD mode dial switch allows: normal mode with the base front/rear torque distribution is at 60:40; in Sport mode the balance shifts more to the rear with a 30:70 distribution to achieve a “fun-to-drive” quality on winding roads and circuits; and in Track mode the base setting is 50:50 for fast, competitive driving on circuits or special stages. In each mode, the torque balance will automatically adjust in response to the driver’s inputs, vehicle behaviour and road or track conditions.Toyota Australia’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Sean Hanley, said the GR Yaris is the latest in Toyota’s rich heritage of sports cars that include the Toyota 800, 2000GT, Celica, Supra, Corolla AE86, MR2 and 86. “The GR Yaris is an exciting well-rounded vehicle that exemplifies Toyota’s commitment to producing ever-better cars, offering compelling performance that will appeal to a broad range of enthusiasts. It is a rally car for the road that pushes vehicle performance to the limit and will enhance the image of the Toyota and Yaris brands.” he said.Pricing for Australia is yet to be finalised.

(Pictures courtesy of Toyota Australia and Motor Magazine.)

2020MY Hyundai Venue Go & Active vs Kia Seltos S & Sport+: Car Review Title Fight.

This Car Review Is About: Four cars that are the same but different. In late 2019 the Korean companies of Hyundai and Kia released their new, small, city aimed SUVs. Hyundai named theirs Venue, Kia chose Seltos.Both brands went with a four tiered structure. Hyundai has Go, Active, and Elite plus there is a Launch Edition as well. Kia has S, Sport, and Sport+ sitting under the GT-Line.

Where the two basic exterior designs are obvious in relationship, being a stubby bonnet, steeply raked windscreen, wide opening doors, and pert rears, both have their own distinctive stamp. That carries over to the interior look, engine choice, and suspension tune.

How Much Do They Cost?:
Venue Go starts from around $23,630 drive-away. The Active kicks off from $25,200. As of December 2019 Kia is offering the S at $25,990 and with a Safety Pack at $26,990. The Sport+ with 1.6L is $36,490.

Under The Bonnet Is: 1.6L non turbo fours for the Hyundais. Kia starts with a naturally aspirated 2.0L and finishes with a turbo version of the 1.6L in the Sport+ (with 2.0L an option) and GT-Line. Peak power for the 2.0L is 110kW, with the turbo four producing 130kW. Peak torque for Seltos is 180Nm and 265Nm, with the latter available from 1,500rpm to 4,500rpm. Venue’s 1.6L is 90kw and 151Nm at a high 4,850rpm.

Transmission choice for Hyundai is simple with a six speed auto or six speed manual for the Go and Active. Kia has a CVT for all variants bar Sport+ and GT-Line. There’s a dual clutch auto here instead. All Venues are 2WD. The Sport+ with 1.6L is a part time AWD.Economy figures were nearly all sub eight litres. The Sport+ saw a best of 5.4L/100km with a final figure of 7.2L/100km. The Go was similar at 5.9L and 7.4L/100km. The Active saw a best of 6.1L/100km and 7.5L/100km, whilst the S saw a best of 7.7L/100km and 8.6L/100km.

Kia quotes for the urban/combined/highway cycle 8.8L/6.8L/5.5L per 100km for the 2.0L, and 9.5L/7.6L/6.3L per 100km for the 1.6L from their 50L tank. The Venue’s figure, for the auto, 7.2L/9.5L/5.9L per 100km respectively.

Towing is rated as 800kg for the Venue automatics, 1,100kg and 1,250kg is available for the CVT and DCT in Seltos.

On The Outside It’s: A more subdued look from Hyundai, whilst Kia goes for more visual pop thanks to a front bar with fins either side of the slimline grille, and light clusters at each end that evoke Evoque thanks to the swept in wings on the top of the clusters running into the fenders . The lower quarters of the front bar have inserts for driving lights.

Hyundai’s design is quietly appealing, with the headlights, like the Seltos, set mid-height in the front bar. These wear LED driving lights as halos and are separate to the LED strip lights under the full length bonnet. The lower section of the front bar has coloured inserts.

Kia’s styling has the headlights and driving lights in one cluster, again with the main lights set at mid-height. The overall design is busy in comparison to the Venue’s design. Kia also has their trademark bonnet design with a leading edge section holding the badge.

The rear roofline separates the two as well. Venue has a thick C-130pillar and the roof leading into the tailgate. Seltos goes for more glass here, and the tailgate reaches up and into the roofline. Both have a slight upwards kink to their respective rear doors.

The colour palette shows more sparkle from Kia too. The S was a bright bronze-green called Starbright Yellow with the Sport+ a deep burgundy hued metallic red called Mars Orange. Both Hyundais had blue, with the Go a rich, almost navy blue called Intense Blue, and the Active a more aquamarine metallic. The name? “The Denim”.

Steel wheels featured on the Go and S, with alloys for the Active and Sport+. The Go rolls on 185/65/15 and Active has the same on alloys. The S with steel wheels has 205/60/16 underneath and the Sport+ 215/55/17s. 4,340mm is the length for the Seltos, which is 300mm longer than the 4,040mm Venue. Height for the Kia is 1,615mm with roofrails. Venue stands 1,592mm. Overall width is 1,800mm for the Seltos, whilst Venue is slightly narrower at 1,770mm. Ride height for the Venue is 170mm. 177mm is the clearance for the Seltos.On The Inside Is: A variety of looks. The Hyundai design team has opted for a stripped back presentation for the Go and Active. The Seltos S and Sport+ have an immediately upmarket look and feel.The Go and Active have cloth seats, and there are individual looks. The Go has white piping in an almost electrical grid sheet layout and the Active a pair of colour coded GT stripes. The Seltos S has charcoal bolsters and a herringbone grey in the middle, whilst the Sport+ has leather bolsters with a dark grey cloth weave.

Inside the Active and Go is an efficiently laid out dash design. Vents reflect the headlight surrounds with a rounded corner edge shape. There is a dull chrome look on the steering wheel’s lower section and around the dear selector. A drive mode selector is located here, whereas in the Seltos it’s further up and to the side of the selector. The Kia’s feel has more torsion in the twist, the Venue’s lacks any need to apply force. The Venue though offers traction control with Snow, Mud, and Sand, an odd thought given it’s a front wheel drive only vehicle. However the Venue’s spec sheet says there is also variable one touch indicators, at 3, 5, or 7 flashes. For safety’s sake it should be 7 and 7 only.It’s the plastics and layout that mark the Seltos as having a more upmarket look. There’s a different sheen, a different hue, a different tactility to the materials used. There’s a grab handle on the left of the gear selector, the touchscreen is the more favourable looking separate to the dash configuration, and the dash dials are a more elegant monochrome look. Even the speaker covers have a different look, with a pyramid motif for the gloss black metal.Aircon controls for the Venues are rotary dial. The Seltos S has the same, the Sport+ has push button . The Kia’s console is wider and holds push buttons for Hill Descent and Parking sensors off in the S, a diff lock and camera for the Sport+. The Go misses out on warning sensors for reverse parking at the rear, an odd oversight even with a camera as standard fitment. All four Seltos get rear parking sensors. Audio is AM/FM in the Go and Active, whilst the Seltos S is the same. It’s the orphan in the Seltos range when it comes to DAB but with Bluetooth streaming plus app compatibility, DAB streaming won’t be an issue. The Sport+ also offered a wireless charge pad.

Cargo for the Seltos is rated as 433L to 1,393L. Hyundai lists only the rear seats up figure and it’s smaller than Seltos at 355L. The Venue Go also lacks a centre console storage box, whereas both of the Seltos had it.On The Road It’s: A really matter of choice. The Kias run more tautly than the Hyundais, with the Seltos pair feeling more as if the tyres are brought into play to assist in compliance and absorption. The Hyundais have a softer tune, noticeably softer, but not so that they wallow or flop around. It’s actually at times a preferred ride to the Kias, with more give in the ride and therefore somewhat less intrusive.

The 1.6L in the Venue range is a willing and energetic unit. Given the power and torque outputs it has no right to be highly regarded, yet after having the Go and Active autos for two weeks back to back, they showed no sign of underperforming, no indication of being “the little engine that couldn’t”. AWT came away after the review periods more than impressed as the cars slowly grew on us and finished with a positive impression.

The Seltos 2.0L naturally exhibited plenty of spirit as well. It’s a powerplant that shares verve and vitality with the Hyundai’s liveliness. The extra torque provides a more useable drive experience than the still sprightly 1.6L in the Venue, naturally, and didn’t overwhelm the CVT either. The DCT and 1.6L is just as equally well behaved, and the DCT is quite well tuned in the clutch change, at standstill, from Reverse to Drive, with less of a break in transmission engagement. It also has plenty of punch when required, with that flat torque over a 3,000rpm range making highway driving and safety in overtaking efforetless.

The 1.6L Venue requires more of a heavier foot to elicit something approaching similar performance, but it never disappointed. Uphill driving was the only (barely) weakspot with manual downchanges to take advantage of the engine’s willing and revvy nature required. Brakes across the board, as was steering, could not be faulted for both cars.

What About Safety? The Seltos comes with or without a safety pack and in honesty there’s not a lot of difference. AEB (Autonomous Emergency Brake) with FCWS (Forward Collision Warning System)- Cyclist Avoidance is probably the biggest notable change. There is a slightly different Driver Attention Alert for the safety pack in the S, but the S does miss out on BSD (Blind Spot Detection) with RCTA (Rear Cross Traffic Alert) & LCA (Lane Change Assist) plus Rear Cross Traffic Alert. There are also no front sensors.

The Venue Go and Active dip out on Blind Spot Collision Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. They do get the same Driver Alert Warning which beeps to advise the car ahead has moved on. Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) – City/Urban/Interurban/Pedestrian (camera type) and Lane Keep Assist are standard though. All four had the usual safety systems including six airbags.

What About Warranty And Service? Kia’s still a class leader with a standard seven year warranty. Hyundai offers five as standard and until December 31, 2019, was offering seven for cars delivered by then. More on the servicing structure for Kia is on their website. Hyundai’s serving information is also on their website.

At The End Of The Drive. One on one, the Seltos outweighs the Venue in all areas bar one. The emotional tie factor. The Seltos has looks and driveability that appealed more yet the Venue never gave up in efforts to gain respect. It’s slightly smaller overall, doesn’t have the same engine flexibility, and could be considered somewhat dowdy to look at inside and out, yet it still gave its considerable all. Although the preference for us would be for the Seltos Sport+ (and probably the GT-Line), the Venue is by no means a loser simply because it does what it does quietly, efficiently, and and at 100%.

Subaru Joins The Hybrid Family.

Subaru has confirmed its March 2020 launch into the hybrid arena, also revealing it has already achieved significant sales success with its new technology Forester and XV Hybrid e-Boxer All-Wheel Drive (AWD) variants. The innovative Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV) feature identical petrol-electric engines that add a new dimension and choice to Subaru’s range.

XV Hybrid offers over 14% improvement in fuel efficiency over equivalent petrol variants in the urban cycle and over 7% improvement in the combined cycle, while Forester offers improvement of over 9% (compared to 2.5-litre petrol variants) in the combined cycle and over 19% in the urban cycle (when tested in accordance with ADR81/02).

Forester is already Subaru’s best-seller in Australia and the Hybrid AWD variant will launch in February priced from $39,990 (Manufacturer’s List Price), while XV Hybrid, with an exclusive new colour option called Lagoon Blue Pearl, and this will start from $35,580 MLP.

One XV Hybrid AWD variant will be available and two Foresters: Hybrid L AWD and Hybrid S AWD.

Subaru Australia Managing Director, Colin Christie, said: “While we initially see both our e-Boxer mild hybrid system models as niche options in our range, we’ve already got significant interest from fleet customers and also Subaru fans who have long indicated pent-up demand for new technology engine options. “Of course all this new technology is underpinned by our customer must-haves: fun, safety, reliability and great engineering. And we’re confident that the wonderful retained value and whole-of-life cost benefits enjoyed by other new Subarus will also carry over to our hybrids.”

Both hybrid models feature e-Boxer power, which is  a 2.0 litre horizontally opposed Boxer engine that’s linked via Motor Assist to a high voltage lithium ion battery, offering fuel economy benefits, particularly in congested city driving. The four cylinder 2.0 litre engine produces 110 Kilowatts of power at 6,000 rpm and 196 Newtonmetres of torque at 4,000 rpm and features the efficient intake/exhaust Active Valve Control System (AVCS).

The electric motor produces 12.3 kW of power and 66 Nm of torque, and is self-charging, via kinetic energy captured by regenerative braking and coasting. The direct injection petrol engine, Motor Assist and battery combination produce smooth, linear and responsive acceleration. The e-Boxer logic adjusts the power split between petrol and electric to match driving conditions.

It automatically changes between three modes: Motor Assist EV driving, Motor Assist electric (EV) + petrol engine driving, and petrol engine driving. From standstill or at low speed, the vehicle is powered by the electric motor only, for quiet, zero-emission driving. Depending upon vehicle and battery condition, it can operate in fully electric mode up to 40 km/h. When driving in fully electric mode (both forward and reverse), the Pedestrian Alert system emits a sound, to alert people in close proximity. The system operates when the vehicle speed is 24 km/h or less.

At medium speeds, combined power from both the electric and petrol engine produce responsive, linear and more fuel efficient acceleration. At high speed, the Boxer petrol engine exclusively powers the vehicle, while regenerative braking or coasting with foot off the accelerator, recharges the lithium ion battery. Depending upon driving style, the e-Boxer hybrid system can offer improved fuel consumption particularly in urban, stop-go traffic. It also eliminates the unnatural braking feel common to electric-only vehicles.

The e-Boxer hybrid system uses kinetic energy by converting it into electricity, delivered to the battery located in the sub cargo floor, together with the drive motor inverter and DC/DC converter. All are installed in a high-strength frame, with sound dampening and moisture-repelling qualities. The electric motor assist and battery pack are aligned longitudinally, with the motor located near the vehicle’s centre of gravity, while the battery and other components are above the rear axle, also contributing to low centre of gravity and optimising front/rear weight distribution.

An unobtrusive cooling system draws air from the cabin to help maintain the battery at operating temperature and to help ensure better longevity. In Forester Hybrid S, driver selectable SI-Drive,  Subaru’s powertrain performance management system, allows the driver to tailor throttle characteristics by choosing between “Intelligent” and “Sport” modes, for flexible, convenient and enjoyable driving. Subaru’s smooth and efficient Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is mated to the e-Boxer system for ultra-smooth power delivery and torque.

Motor Assist enhances X-Mode off-road capability, through better low speed torque control. X-Mode makes it easier for drivers to safely navigate bad roads, slippery surfaces and steep hills, with just one switch. X-Mode’s status is indicated visually on the Multi-Function Display (MFD) screen. When X-Mode is engaged, at 40 km/h or less, status information is displayed on the MFD and instrument cluster, including Hill Descent Control and Vehicle Dynamics Control. X-Mode centralizes control of the engine, All-Wheel Drive, brakes and other critical components to help ensure safe driving even on poor surfaces. Hill Descent Control helps maintain a constant speed when the vehicle is traveling down hill.

As with the entire Subaru new vehicle range, the hybrid models are anticipated to gain a five-star rating for occupant safety. All Subaru hybrids purchased by private buyers for private use offer a five year unlimited kilometre warranty, plus an eight-year 160,000 km lithium ion battery warranty.

Subaru Hybrid Pricing: XV Hybrid AWD from $35,580 (MLP), Forester Hybrid L AWD from $39,990 (MLP), and Hybrid S AWD from $45,990 (MLP).

In other Subaru news, the brand announced it will not return to the Australian Rally Championship in 2020. After four years of participation under the Subaru do Motorsport banner, the brand has curtailed its domestic rally program while it refocuses its performance car marketing in other areas for the foreseeable future.

The team distinguished itself with a win in the 2016 Championship that made history with driver Molly Taylor becoming the youngest ever (at the time) and first female champion. The 2016-18 seasons were conducted in partnership with Les Walkden Rallying, while Orange Motorsport was the provider in 2019. Despite the end of the current program, Molly Taylor will be retained as a Subaru brand Ambassador and will participate in a variety of events including customer promotions, drive days, dealer network and staff functions.

Subaru returned to the championship in 2016 after a 10 year hiatus.

 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander: Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: The 2019 specification or MY20 Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander. It’s the top of the range and comes with a great equipment list and is definitely a family friendly vehicle. It’s a three model range, with the Active and Elite being the entry and mid-range options.Under The Bonnet Is: A recently reintroduced 3.5L V6 or 2.2L diesel available across the range. The Highlander tested comes with the grunty 2.2L diesel and 8 speed automatic. It’s an all wheel drive system complete with diff lock for moderate off-roading. Peak power is a decent 147kW, and torque a stump pulling 440Nm. However, it’s a lightswitch delivery for that twist, with it on tap from 1,750rpm through to 2,750rpm. It’s not a progressive delivery from below 1,750 at all, with a press of the pedal getting that familiar pause before launch. It’s that transition from nothing to go that isn’t gentle.

Economy is superb on the highway for such a big machine. Kerb weight is anywhere between 1,870kg to 1,995kg. Our highway figure saw a best of 6.7L/100km, with an overall final consumption of 7.9L/100km. Hyundai quotes 9.9L/100km for the urban, 7.5L/100km for the combined, and 6.6L/100km on the highway from the 71 litre tank. Towing is rated as 2,000kg and the engine is EURO5 compliant.

How Much Does It Cost?: Hyundai’s website, at the time of writing, indicates a starting price of $62,425 driveaway for the Highlander petrol, $65,575 for the diesel. The test car was clad in an unusual hue named Earthly Bronze and takes the price to a $66,600 region. The range itself starts from around $47,200. That includes a seven year warranty until December 31, 2019 for vehicles delivered before that date. There are option packs available such as the Trek and Tow pack (two different versions) that offer heavy duty spring kits, electronic brake controller, and body additions. There is a price of over $2K for these. The Metro pack is floor mats, a fabric material rear bumper protector and a dashmat. That tickles the wallet at just $286.On The Outside It’s: Undergone a notable change at both ends. Hyundai has gone for a similar look across its SUV range with “eyebrow” LED driving lights sitting above lower set headlights. The Highlander’s are LED powered as well. A pair of halogen globes sit at each corner. The rear lights have been trimmed and look much more streamlined than the previous model. The profile is stylish, and moves away from a blocky, squarish, three box design. Wheels were 19 inches and of a 5×2 spiral design. Rubber is 235/55ContiSport Contact. There is chrome garnish around the windows and along the lower doors and rear bumper. The rear also has the indicator clusters set separately to the tail lights, and they’re low down in the corners. This is a design issue AWT doesn’t subscribe to as they’re not in the driver’s eyeline.

On The Inside It’s: A dark beige colour (almost a light cocoa brown actually) for the seats and a speckled grey above. The fronts eats are both heated and vented (phew), and the steering wheel is also heated. Only the driver’s window is one touch up/down, oddly. The touchscreen is standard Hyundai and has DAB/Bluetooth/apps for connectivity. The sound is slightly off in that the voice stage comes across as centred behind the driver. And that’s with the settings having the stage centred for between the front seats.In the centre console are the switches for the 360 degree camera, diff lock, parking assistance and sensors. Ahead of that is the gear selector with Sports shift and a nook for the wireless charging and connectivity via USB and Aux plus a pair of 12V sockets. These sit at the base of a very stylish looking dash console and a cool looking arch design for the uppermost section that also houses a HUD. The driver’s display changes colour depending on which of the five drive modes, such as Eco or Sport, are selected.There are switches high up on the shoulder of the front seat to allow fore and aft movement of the seats, the middle row is 60/40 tilt and fold, and in the review car, there was the cargo cover over the folded down third row. cargo itself is good, ranging from 547L to 1,625L. Rear seats have their own aircon control too. Handy given the full glass roof. There is plenty of vision thanks to a good sized glasshouse.On The Road It’s: A mix of confidence inspiring and could have been better. The ride on and off-road is superb, with beautifully balanced damping at both ends, precise steering, easily controllable handling, and a let down in the torque delivery and braking.

Taken onto some mixed grade gravel roads, the all wheel drive Santa Fe Highlander displays adequate manners up to a point. It’s definitely able to hand a good mix of gravel and clay style roads, and with some mild rocky surfaces thrown in for good measure. The centre diff lock is for those that may like a bit of softer surface running such as beach sand or a few inches worth of dragging mud.

The steering across the board is weighted just right, but it’s the light switch bang kapow wham of torque delivery from a standstill that really became irksome. Hit the Start/Stop button, fire up, head to a stop sign. Push the go pedal and there’s the diesel intake and…BAM, the engine is a free-spinner but god almighty the instant delivery of all 440 torques is just so overdone. There is nothing wrong with a flat torque curve, as it is between 1,750 and 2,750 here, however throwing the full bag in straight away is too much.

Highway cruising has the engine ticking over at just under 1,700rpm which means when acceleration is required, the torque coming in isn’t so violent as it does its thing. Because the engine is a free spirit it spins around easily and makes moving the two tonne plus machine down the freeway a smooth and painfree event.

The brakes are at the other end. Pedal travel is soft, spongy, and lacking in real stopping force. It feels even at what would normally be a real sense of the stoppers stopping that more pressure is needed to get bite on the 320mm and 309mm discs. Coming up to traffic lights and stop signs just doesn’t have the Highlander’s brakes feeling as if the required pressure is working.What About Safety?: Hyundai‘s loaded the Highlander with as much as a car can handle. Advanced Smart Parking Assist System (ASPAS) Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist – Rear (BCA-R) Driver Attention Warning (DAW) Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) – City/Urban/Interurban/Pedestrian/Cyclist (camera & radar) High Beam Assist (HBA) Lane Keeping Assist – Line/Road-Edge (LKA-L/R) Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA) Rear Occupant Alert (ROA) Rear Occupant Alert (ROA) – Advanced Safe Exit Assist (SEA) Smart Cruise Control (SCC) with Stop & Go Surround View Monitor (SVM) . Phew.

What About Warranty And Servicing?: There is a seven year warranty available for vehicles delivered before December 31, 2019. Servicing details can be checked for your car via Hyundai’s website.

At The End Of Drive. Hyundai’s Santa Fe is of the brand’s longer running nameplates. Its grown in size from a mid-sizer to a full sized family SUV. In Highlander spec it wants for nothing in trim and equipment levels, although the look inside is now fading in comparison to the Euro cars of a similar spec. It’s in the driving that the Santa Fe’s issues are exposed, with that wham bam torque delivery from a standing start and the “need more” from the brakes.

Sort those and the Santa Fe easily becomes an absolute standout in its class.

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: A lightly refreshed for 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed. There are no external changes although one would suspect a front end revamp to bring it even more into line with the edgier looks now seen on the rest of the family will come deep in 2020.Under The Bonnet Is: The familiar petrol and CVT combination. The CVT is programmed but with only six “steps” as opposed to the more common seven or eight. The diesel engine is largely unavailable save for being inside the Exceed and LS AWD. Only the entry level ES has a manual option and it seems that the PHEV is due for an upgrade in early 2020.

At 2.4L in capacity it’s right in the ballpark for petrol engine’s in this type of vehicle. Peak power of 124kW and peak torque of 220Nm arrive at 6,000rpm and 4,200rpm respectively. Maximum towing is 1,600kg (braked).Economy figures in a driving sense vary thanks to Mitsubishi’s on-the-fly measurements. Our final figure was a very good 6.3L/100km, with Mitsubishi saying 7.2L/100km for the combined. Our figure was on a highway run, with 8.5L/100km seeming the norm in suburbia. Tank size is 60L.

How Much Does It Cost?: At the time of writing, Mitsubishi are offering the petrol version at $45,790 drive-away. That includes 7 years warranty and 2 years free scheduled servicing. It’s also a substantial discount from the $43,290 plus government and dealer charges.

On The Outside It’s: Unchanged. The Outlander is the only vehicle left in the Mitsubishi fleet that doesn’t sport the jut-jawed and squared off at each end design, instead retaining the rounded and ovoid look of the past near decade, even with the shield grille look.Rubber comes from Toyo’s A24 range and were 225/55/18 in configuration. The spare is a space saver. These sit on a 2,670mm wheelbase and allow for a balanced look in the front and rear overhang for the 4,695mm total length. Our test car came clad in metallic red and contrasts nicely with the black urethane wheel arches and side mouldings. Headlights are LED for high and low beam. Rear lights are full LED also except for the fog lights.

On The Inside It’s: Largely unchanged. The highlight here is the revamped interface for the 8.0 inch touchscreen. It’s not as un-user-friendly as the Eclipse Cross but still less so than that found in the Triton. DAB audio is standard but the speaker system let’s it down. There is a bass/midrange/treble equaliser in the settings, but finding the right balance was tricky. The bass was either too boomy or at a level that lacked punch. Vocals, the midrange, lacked cut-through. Android Auto, Apple CarPLay, and Bluetooth connectivity with voice activation are standard as is satnav.Minor quibbles continued with the seats. Powered and leather they may be, but the material was flat in surface texture and lacked eyeball drawing appeal. And again the Australian need for venting in leather seats was overlooked, with heating but not cooling fitted. There was, though, a powered, not manual, lumbar adjustment, and this is great for longer driving stints.

The second row seats are 60/40 foldable, and third row the usual 50/50 split and accessed via the brilliantly simple pullstrap, providing a 1,608 litre cargo section when the powered tailgate was opened. Another minor quibble here; the rear door would self raise from either the key fob or from a driver’s located tab, but not when the exterior button itself was pressed. With the third row down, there’s a more than handy 478L available.The Outlander Exceed supplied didn’t come with a HUD, a Head Up Display. It’s worth pointing out as the Eclipse Cross Exceed does. The S-AWC or Super All Wheel Control is standard here and has Active Yaw Control included.Cabin ergonomics are largely ok however some tabs are well below the driver’s eyeline and down near the right knee. It’s worth considering relocating these purely on a safety basis. Rear seat passengers have two USB ports. All windows are one touch up and down, a seeming rarity in some cars and brands. What was noted is the update to the controls for the dual zone climate control. The Outlander has moved to a classier chromed and almost piano black look for the dials, and they’re now relocated and knurled in look.

Otherwise, the look and feel of the cabin is standard Mitsubishi. Visually it’s a mix of pleasing lines and a bone over black colour palette, with a sunroof providing the extra airiness and spaciousness for the passengers. There is also plenty of space thanks to 1,437mm shoulder room up front. the squarish front profile means 1,425mm is available for the second row. Head room is1,014mm for the front, and 944mm for the second row. Leg room front and second row is 1,039mm and 948mm.On The Road It’s: Surprisingly sluggish from a standing start, even allowing for how a CVT drains performance from a normally zippy and peppy petrol engine. And at 1,525kg is no heavyweight and just starting to fringe on a light-heavyweight compared to its competition. Acceleration, what there is of it, is less than adequate with normal foot pressure and requires a solid shove to get anything resembling velocity. It’s truly unusual and one of the worst we’ve experienced in that respect. But flip the drive selector to Sport mode and there’s an instant change in character. It’s more of the zippier and peppier car expected, with far better acceleration and dynamics.It also was very light in the steering with a lot of assistance. The ratio is variable with more front wheel movement becoming obvious as the tiller went left and right. It’s also easily affected by crosswinds and that came as a surprise too. The winds that plagued Sydney during the review period also showed how susceptible to cross-winds the Outlander was, with the broad and upright sides catching the wind and moving the SUV around. The suspension is the typical MacPherson strut, coil spring front and multi-link rear. Irrespective of the wind affected drive, it’s very easy to drive, it’s quiet, and the supple suspension is well sorted for varying road conditions. The brakes are good with just the right amount of bite per feeling of travel.

What About Safety?: It’s the supreme pizza here. Forward Collision Mitigation is standard, as is Adaptive Cruise Control. Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Alert, Lane Change Assist, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are also here. Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation System (UMS) is standard and more on the safety package can be found here.What About Warranty And Servicing?: As mentioned, there is a seven year warranty and two year free scheduled servicing offer available. For specific details as they’re subject to change, please contact your Mitsubishi dealer.

At The End Of The Drive. The Outlander nameplate is coming up to two decades old in Australia. It started with a Lancer based small SUV about the size of the ASX. It morphed into a larger SUV with Lancer hints before changing again into the rounded body shape we see now.

It’s served as a capable addition to the Mitsubishi family and as their largest passenger oriented car, as in not also offering dedicated off-road capability such as the Triton based Pajero Sport, it holds its own. In this case the power delivery really lacked urgency, leaving us somewhat bemused as to the disappearance of what normally seems a decent driveline. The fact that Sport mode had to be selected to engender any sense of get up and go has left us pondering why.

On the upside is decent dynamics in the ride and handling, a superb safety package, and still attractive looks. Oh, and the drive-away price is enticing too. The Mitsubishi website can tell you more.

2020 Mitsubishi Triton GLX+: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: The slightly updated Mitsubishi Triton four door cab chassis in GLX+ spec. There was a couple of updates for the range and specifically for the GLX+ it received a rear diff lock as standard (also for the GLS), plus the dual cab (as tested) was given a rear air circulator. The GLX+ model comes standard now with Easy-Select 4WD. A centre console mounted dial, as seen in other Tritons, allows easy switching between 2WD and 4WD modes and offers 2H, 4H and 4L transfer case settings.Under The Bonnet Is: A 133kW, 430Nm 2.4L diesel. Peak torque arrives at 2,500 rpm but there’s mixed messages below that. There’s an indecent amount of lag before the torque curve suddenly leaps upwards. From 2,000rpm there’s a gunshot surge of torque, not a smooth progessive delivery, and it’s enough to chirp the rear rubber and that’s with the driveline’s electronic nanny activated. It also provides a towing capacity of 3,100kg.How Much Does It Cost?: Mitsubishi’s RRP for the GLX+ four door cabin body starts at $40,990 for the manual diesel version with 4WD capability. The auto is $43,490. The Triton range itself kicks off with the 4X2 GLX Cab Chassis 2.4L Man Petrol $22,490 in a single cab body. The four door Crew Cabs start at $36,290 for the 4×2 GLX ADAS Pick Up 2.4L Auto Diesel. There is a three trim level Club Cab as well. Metallic paint is a $690 option. The manual was on sales at $37,990 drive-away at the time of writing (November 2019).

On The Outside It’s: Long and white. The redesign for the Triton range sharpened up each end, with the now signature “Shield” grille and inwards angled bumper side up front, a subtle change to the curve behind the second row doors, and a less curvy shape to the tail light cluster. It’s a look that seems to define the Triton as a “bloke’s ute”. That’s backed up by a solid looking set of tyres, The Bridgestone Dueler A/T rubber has a chunky tread block and stand at 245/70/18 with the alloys an efficient six spoke design. Driving lights and indicator lamps are in the far corners of the blocky front bumper.The tray fitted is big too. It’s 1,520mm in internal length, 1,470mm in width, and 470mm in depth. cargo capacity is 950kg. At the other end are hard jet washers for the windscreen. This is an area where the finer mist style would be far more efficient.On The Inside It’s: Functional and aesthetic in a minimalist sort of way. The aircon rear air circulator is perhaps the standout, as it’s a biggish dome shaped protrusion from the roof, with a set of slats facing the windscreen. The outlets are a pair of slimline vents and each have a flap to redirect the airflow. Up front is Mitsubishi’s standard and functional dual analogue dial and LCD screen setup. The centre console in the dash has a seven inch touchscreen and is better in usage than the screen in the Eclipse Cross. It’s the slightly older GUI and it’s safe to say it’s more user friendly. There is DAB, Bluetooth, a pair of USB ports and a HDMI port as well.Seats were cloth in covering, manual in adjustment, and comfortable enough for normal day-to-day driving. It’s a charcoal and light grey colour mix, contrasting with the black and light shades in the lower and upper sections of the cabin. The tiller is height and reach adjustable as well, meaning getting the right driving position shouldn’t be an issue. There is a dull alloy look plastic on the steering wheel’s spokes, circling the airvents, and on the centre console around the gear selector.Leg and shoulder room has never been an issue in the Triton and there’s plenty of space for people of all sizes. Shoulder room is 1,430mm, leg room a handy 1,020mm up front. 970mm is the measurement for rear seats. There is also a handy little icon that shows which seatbelts haven’t been connected when the car is ready to move away.On The Road It’s: Not nearly as wayward as its underpinnings as a work ute would suggest. It’s decently comfortable, handles better than expected, and speed can be washed off with the front end scrubbing the tyres. The suspension is tight up front, a little less so for the rear, naturally, in order to cope with the expected load usage. The steering is heavy but manageably so, and there is little free-play from centre, meaning steering response is quick.Unfortunately the very good handling and ride is hobbled by horrendous turbo lag and then a punch in the back. Twist the start key, fire up, engage Drive, and hit the go pedal. There’s a real and genuine wait for anything to happen as the turbo spools up, and the revs rise. Then kapow bam wham, it’s a far too instant launch as the numbers see two thousand. This really needs a smoother and more progressive torque delivery in order to make this a more driver friendly vehicle.

The brakes are well balanced, with enough feedback on the press of the pedal to get a sense of where the foot needs to be in order to haul up the two tonnes worth of metal. There’s enough to make sure than when going into corners and dabbing the brakes to use the front end scrub as well, that the combination become instinctive and driver friendly.The Safety Package Is: Good but could be better, and work utes are getting better in an area they’ve lagged in. Forward Collision Mitigation Warning with Pedestrian Detection is standard on the GLX+ as is Lane Departure Warning. Lane Change Assist and Blind Spot Warning, plus Rear Cross Traffic Warning are missing.

And the Warranty Is: Listed as 7 years, 150,000 kilometres, and servicing is free for two years as of December 1, 2019. Four years road side assist is included.

At the End Of the Drive. For what it is, the Triton range are a sturdy, solid, and worthwhile investment. The GLX+ drives well enough but that turbo lag is a problem. Standard equipment and trim is good enough for its intended market as well. The Mitsubishi website is where you’ll find out more.